Board Members Unanimously Selected Jake Bland to Carry Out YFC’s Mission in a Time When Strong and Godly Leadership is Critical
June 1, 2021
DENVER, Colo.—Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) welcomes Jacob (Jake) Bland as he assumes his new role as President and CEO of YFC effectivetoday, June 1, 2021.
When asked about his hope and plan for the future of YFC, Bland stated, “There are 11-19- year-olds who are facing crises like never before. I believe God has uniquely positioned YFC to help uncover God’s story of hope in the next generation.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants, now at a critical convergence point: A 77-year history of innovative youth ministry; combined with thousands of creative, diverse, and faithful volunteers who are building relationships with kids who need hope.”
Bland has developed his 100-day plan for leadership strategy at YFC, which includes “integrated spiritual rhythms.” Daily prayer, Bible studies, communion and devotions will be the focus as he brings key leadership teams together with key field staff to work together to plan and implement core YFC activities. One of Bland’s main goals is teambuilding—listening to and honoring all levels of leadership and staff during “Coffee with the President” gatherings. Bland knows that Kingdom Diversity at YFC will thrive when those who are on the frontlines participate and lend input into creative methods of reaching today’s youth.
“The Gospel of Christ is as powerful and as effective as ever. Kids need to know that the God of the universe loves them, that He Cares for them, and that He wants to offer them eternal and abundant life through His son Jesus,” says Bland.
“I pray that our YFC leaders will first keep falling in love with Jesus as our Savior and King—faithfully following Him in every aspect of our lives. As a result, I hope we become the kind of leaders through whom God will use to reach a million kids every year.
“The rallying cry – at least for the year ahead – will be about developing faithful leaders in a Christ-centered culture. Then, we will pray for, and work towards growth. To reach one million kids annually, it will take over 200,000 volunteers who care deeply about the spiritual condition of youth, so youth know that they’re never alone.”
Following an extensive national search resulting in 230 highly qualified applicants, YFC’s National Board of Trustees appointed Jake Bland as the youth ministry’s 10th president and CEO by unanimous decision following Dan Wolgemuth’s announcement of his retirement as YFC president and CEO, after 16 years of dedicated service.
Bland, who formerly served as YFC Chief of Staff to the CEO, has been involved with YFC for 23 years – first serving as a high school student in a YFC music group, then as a volunteer. Bland was promoted through the YFC ministry over the past 18 years, serving in many leadership positions. In addition to his current role, Bland was also the President/CEO for the YFC Foundation (2018-present); Vice President, Development and Marketing YFC USA (2014-2020); Associate Vice President, Marketing, YFC USA (2012-2014); National Director, Digital Innovation, YFC USA (2010-2012) and Ministry Site Director, YFC Chapter in Peoria, Illinois (2004-2010).
As Wolgemuth passes the baton to Bland, there is a sentimental atmosphere around Youth For Christ, mixed with an air of excitement, as these two men have devoted themselves to the youth ministry of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Board Chairman Barry Huebner sums up the decision to hire Bland. “The Lord led us to someone from our own YFC family — someone who truly has served YFC with a genuine call to Jesus. It was a unanimous decision to select Jake Bland. He will succeed Dan Wolgemuth, one of the most godly and passionate leaders in YFC history. The members of our National Board of Trustees believe that Jake will carry out YFC’s mission in a time when strong and godly leadership is needed more than ever. The baton that Dan is passing to Jake is full of wisdom and a heart for God that both men share. There could not be a better successor than Jake Bland to now carry the mantle that Dan has carried and cared for at YFC USA.”
Bland graduated magna cum laude from Bradley University. He also earned a master’s degree in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Bland and his wife, Ali, have a son, Silas, and a daughter, Ivy.
YFC haschapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
YFC encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to lead people to Christ.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 160 chapters that impact communities across America.
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.